I want to start by getting something off my chest. I attended tonight’s Elluminate session, where Terry Anderson was the guest presenter. He had a very interesting presentation which I enjoyed very much. One thing he spoke about is going to make its way into a presentation I have next week. Good stuff!
I am very interested in figuring out how the thoughts in this week’s CCK08 discussions (which is about networks and groups) are different than existing group theory produced by sociological, ethnographic, and information studies disciplines. I was roundly chastised by @downes for “complaining” and “harping” when I was asking honest questions. It is very confusing when there are terms being introduced that are similar to terms in other established disciplines. I thought these questions would be easily answered, but I was basically told to put up a definition or shut up.
I didn’t appreciate that at all. Actually, using that sort of tactic is a way to control membership in a group. But I’ll get to that in a minute.
I’ve started to map out what I am getting from the readings and presentations about groups, networks, and collectives in this wiki.
I don’t have any of my old books, and I don’t want to post any of my old papers. I was a pretty angry political woman when I finally made it to FSU. I will post some of the quotes from my favorite professors. Her name was Elfreda Chatman, she died very suddenly a couple of years ago. She specialized in studying the information seeking behavior of folks in small worlds, especially disenfranchised folks.
One paper I wrote was titled “Information and Cyberspace: Ethnography and Virtual Communities” (April 2000). I quoted a paper by Steven R. Thomsen (Ethnomethodology and the Study of Online Communities: Exploring the Cyber Streets”). He had a definition for community:
“the place of idle talk and banter with acquaintances and friends, is often where the sense of membership in a community is achieved and experienced…it should not e surprising that millions of people throughout the world turn to the Internet to recreate and reestablish the third sphere of conviviality “
From one of Dr. Chatman’s lectures I had this note:
A group’s “style” is their signature. This signature will define the way the group will handle certain events, including what topics are to be discussed (or excluded), the form of interaction, and the level of meaning. An important area where this style is utilized is when a group member encounters a stranger, or someone who is not part of that small world. In ideal situations, when a stranger enters a small world they provide raw materials that allow the member of a small world to look at a world larger than their own. As long as the stranger knows what the rules of information exchange are within the group, he will be allowed to share his world view. However if his information style collapses, he will not be allowed to communicate any longer with the members of the small world be cause they won’t show their true selves (only a false front).
I think I may have broken one of the CCK08 small world communication rules today in that Elluminate session. I’m not sure what – maybe just asking for clarification is a bad thing. We’ll see if I get treated any differently.